23 August 2019
A giant plaque commemorates victims of the Nanjing Massacre. Photo: Chongqing morning paper
A giant plaque commemorates victims of the Nanjing Massacre. Photo: Chongqing morning paper

War memorial days draw disappointment, suspicions

Hong Kong employees are disappointed after the government said two Chinese war memorial days will not be observed as public holidays.

The announcement also drew suspicions about the real motive for the commemorations.  

On Tuesday, the government said Sept. 3 will commemorate China’s resistance to Japanese takeover during World War II and Dec. 13 will mark the Nanjing Massacre.

Both will be working days, depriving employees two extra holidays this year, according to Sing Pao.

Hong Kong has two types of holidays — statutory and public holidays. The former, also known as blue-collar holidays, offers 12 days a year while the latter grants white-collar employees 17 days plus Sundays.

Some netizens took to social media to express their disappointment.

“There should be a holiday in order to nurture Hong Kong people’s recognition and appreciation of China,” an unnamed commenter was quoted as saying.

Labor and Welfare Secretary Matthew Cheung said public holidays are based on consensus among different sectors and are meant to balance the interests of employees and employers.

In February, the central government in Beijing designated the two days as Victory Day to mark the Chinese war of resistance against Japanese occupation, and Nanjing Massacre Memorial Day.

Meanwhile, Roger Ching, chairman of the British-Chinese Soldiers’ Benevolent Association, said the real commemoration day for Hong Kong should be Aug. 30, which was the end of the Japanese occupation of the city and the day Britain retook control, Apple Daily reported.

Ching neither supports nor opposes the Chinese ceremony but said having it in Hong Kong is meaningless and could be “another form of national education aimed at reminding Hong Kong that it is part of China”, according to the report.

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